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Tips on How to Apply for the Annual Environmental Grant Program

Annual Environmental Grant Program

Annual Environmental Grant Program 2023 is open. The Rockfall Foundation invites non-profit organizations, municipalities, and schools to apply for grants through our competitive Annual Environmental Grant Program. The goal of the program is to preserve and enhance the environment in the Lower Connecticut River Valley and to increase public knowledge of and respect for its natural resources. Projects that demonstrate new and imaginative ways to achieve this are encouraged.


  • Eligible projects are those that support the environment through preservation, conservation, restoration or education.
  • Organizations certified as 501(c)(3) nonprofits, towns, religious institutions and schools are eligible to apply. Prospective applicants may partner with a 501(c)(3) or a municipality, as co-applicants, to comply with this requirement. A letter of agreement of this partnership from the host entity must be included with the application, stating that they agree to be equally responsible for compliance with all grant requirements.
  • Organizations or projects must be based in one of the focus towns: Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, or Westbrook. Proposals that focus on the Connecticut River corridor or Long Island Sound will be considered as long as there is a demonstrated impact in at least one of the focus towns.

Priority Areas

  • Preservation – work to protect ecosystems, species, and other irreplaceable elements of the region’s natural heritage.
  • Conservation – work to minimize our use of finite natural resources and our negative impacts on ecosystems and communities.
  • Restoration – work to re-establish the healthy functions of an ecosystem or parts of ecosystems.
  • Education – work to foster a stronger awareness and understanding of environmental and sustainability issues.

What We Fund

Programs, projects, or capacity building initiatives within one or more of the Foundation’s priority areas are eligible for funding. Annual grants support both ongoing programs and start-up initiatives. The Foundation’s grants often provide critical seed money and support for groups that do not have large budgets or staff. Ideally, these grants can be leveraged to attract additional funders.

Grants typically range $1,000 to $5,000, but can be requested in any amount up to $15,000. The available pool in 2023 for all grant awards is $25,000. For grant requests exceeding $5,000, the Grants Committee will often schedule applicant interviews to augment the information provided in the application and may request interviews for other applicants as needed.

Funding for materials, transportation, program/presenter fees, intern stipends and similar items are eligible. Items such as food, regular operating expenses (e.g. insurance, rent, and other overhead), indirect labor salaries and benefits are not generally funded, but may be considered for organizations under extreme financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Funding must be applied to the items/activities described in the application form. Substitutions are not permitted unless prior approval has been obtained.

Applications are rated on the following criteria: likelihood of proposal reaching fruition; clear alignment and benefit to a priority area; innovation; engagement of youth leaders; environmental justice; implications beyond the immediate purview of the proposal; likelihood on continuation without further funding from the Foundation; and a budget that is clear and reasonable.

Types of programs, projects and initiatives that are funded include environmental education, responsible environmental planning, preservation of the Connecticut River Watershed, innovative solutions to waste stream management and pollution, open space acquisition, environmental justice, or anything consistent with the priorities listed.  Environmental Education is broadly defined, and not limited to school curricula; environmental education programs can target any age from preschool through adults. Activities that engage young people, provide hands-on experiences, offer internships, or creative approaches to learning are encouraged. Capital projects that facilitate learning are not prohibited but will be carefully scrutinized for their application to hands-on learning.  Planning projects should be approached with consideration for the natural environment and those that support sustainable communities.  Preservation of the Connecticut River Watershed includes projects designed to protect and benefit the water quality of the Connecticut River watershed and raise awareness of responsible living in the watershed.  Given the current situation, extra attention will also be paid to digital and virtual platforms in this grant round.

Grant Requirements

  • Experienced supervision for the proposed project should be demonstrated in the application.
  • Projects should be for a period no greater than 12 months and begin no later than July 1, 2022 (may include a planning phase).
  • All grants require a match of in-kind items, cash, or professional services. Grant requests require at least a 25% match of the amount requested. Organizations experiencing hardship and having difficulty meeting the match may contact us prior to application submission to discuss their circumstances.
  • Funding must be applied to the item/activity described in the application. Substitutions are not permitted unless prior approval has been obtained.
  • If the applicant is a recipient of a past grant, grantee must be in compliance with the terms of the prior grant agreement.
  • Grantees must detail expected results and agree to submit a final report, in the format provided by the Foundation that details the project’s outcomes, and provide The Foundation with electronic photos related to the project and with copies of any resulting publications and/or maps of activities and/or results.
  • Grantees must prepare and supervise a tabletop exhibit about the project at The Rockfall Foundation Annual Meeting, Grants, and Awards Celebration in the fall.
  • Grantees must facilitate a site visit to observe the project in action

Applications are due to grants@rockfallfoundation.org by Thursday, November 10, 2022 at noon.

To apply for the Annual Environmental Grant Program, click here.

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